KENNESAW -- Kennesaw Mountain served 21 aces and did not allow a single ball to drop on its end of the court during a 25-4, 25-1, 25-12 rout of Colquitt County on Saturday in the first round of the Class AAAAAAA state tournament.
The Lady Packers (10-21) were in the state tournament despite not winning a region game in their four-team Region 1AAAAAAA. They struggled to get into an offensive rhythm and did not record a kill or an assist.
Kennesaw Mountain (31-13), coming off its second straight Region 3AAAAAAA title, needed less than an hour to advance to the second round, where it will host Parkview.
“Our kids have done a great job taking to instruction and training and we’re getting better every game,” Kennesaw Mountain coach Michael Loyd said. “It seems like we’re peaking at the right time. What’s been most impressive is seeing our sophomores and freshmen come in and rise to the level of competition and expectation that we have for our program.”
The tone was set early in the first set when sophomore Emily Maddocks led a five-point run on her serve, including four aces, with Colquitt County failing to get the ball over the net. That gave Kennesaw Mountain and 11-1 lead
Maddocks finished the match with eight kills and six aces. Sophomore Gillian Huffman and freshman Camryn Michel served an additional four aces apiece.
Kennesaw Mountain’s seniors contributed as well, with Natalie Krasnoff tacking on an additional five aces to go with 28 assists. Addison Goede, the Region 3AAAAAAA Player of the Year, added two more service aces.
The one point Kennesaw Mountain yielded in the second set came when it was called for a double-hit.
That set opened with Maddocks serving out the first 17 points. The Lady Mustangs got the ball back when Colquitt County was whistled for a double-hit, and Krasnoff went on to serve out the remaining seven points, three of which came on aces.
Colquitt County managed to get points late in the third set when a few of Kennesaw Mountain’s first-stringers were taken out.
Kennesaw Mountain spread the ball around, with eight players recording kills. Olivia Pugh tied Maddocks with eight, Leila Gainesford ended up with five, Milana Thornton four kills and Brynnan Thompson three.
While there have been ups and downs this season, the Lady Mustangs seemed to have adapted after graduating leading hitter Meghan Cobelli, defensive specialist Gabby LeBruna and libero Olivia Zimmer from their 2018 team. Goede moved from setter to libero to replace Zimmer, with Krasnoff taking over setting duties.
“When we first started the season, we were worried about all the seniors that were graduating,” Pugh said. “We’ve had a little dip in the middle (of the season), and now we’re going back up to be on top. Everyone’s drive to want to win is helping everyone click.”
Harrison 3, Gainesville 0: The Lady Hoyas got through the first round of the Class AAAAAA state playoffs with a 25-18, 25-13, 25-12 win.
Hailey Crane led with 17 kills.
Harrison will play the winner of a first-round match between Glynn Academy and Mundy’s Mill.
Allatoona 3, Habersham Central 0: Allatoona won 25-12, 25-21, 25-16 to advance in the second round of the Class AAAAAA state tournament.
Callie Miller had four aces, 11 kills and two blocks. Chamblee Russell added 16 kills and an ace. Annie Smith dished out 38 assists.
Allatoona will either host Brunswick or head to Drew in the second round.